I honestly can’t even recall who first ignited my interest in positive training … I suspect it may have been a university prof’s reference to Skinner and his work with operant conditioning watching old old film of pigeons choosing to do behaviours to earn pellets of food fascinated me – why would anyone train a pigeon?
Perhaps it was learning about the Baileys and their work – particularly around shaping – oh how I do love shaping …
It wasn’t Don’t Shoot The Dog – or Karen Pryor – although once I decided that I needed to know more about positive training I certainly read everything of hers I could get my hands on
Anyhow – all this is a roundabout way to say I am not sure when I started thinking about it … but it’s been decades since I have been exploring the formal elements of positive training.
|Positive training helps all the animals in the family accept new things with equanimity|
You really can’t grasp the real meaning of being a positive trainer until you have a working knowledge of the Operant Quadrant developed by Skinner (google seems to think)
reinforcement increases a behaviour – it is not a treat unless that treat increases the behaviour that came before it
punishment reduces behaviour
in the context of the quadrant the terms below get very confusing for some people – but think of it like math
positive means you ADD something
negative means you SUBTRACT something
these examples (adapted from dogster.com) may help you understand or they may confuse you thoroughly – sorry if it’s the latter!
” Positive punishment (P+) – we are adding an [aversive] stimulus which will reduce the frequency of behavior. Spanking, shouting, and hitting can be examples of positive punishment.
|With this cute face around who could be punishment oriented?|
Positive training is not permissive
Positive training respects that only the learner can determine what the reward is …
Rewards are not necessarily food although food can be very effective for many situations
Timing is everything (no matter the species)
Reward placement makes a huge difference to impact … (again no matter the species)
The last two statements are why so many people struggle with, or fail at positive training … no matter the species they are working with.
|Sally would not have been the star she was filming Saving Dinah without positive training.|
So many good links on this for people who might want to read more
http://www.whole-dog-journal.com/issues/6_2/features/5517-1.html (so many amazing dog trainers discussing positive training!)
http://www.theclickercenter.com/-Read-Me-.html (horses and general clicker thoughts)
https://positively.com/dog-training/positive-training/what-is-positive-training/ (dogs and the foundation pillars on which positive training should be built)
https://denisefenzi.com/2013/12/10/purely-positive/ (well stated blog that covers my feelings when I get slammed for working to live in a positive training realm)
http://andrea-agilityaddict.blogspot.ca/2013/05/the-power-of-positive.html (me on a soap box about flexibility and patience in training all species)
Some videos you might enjoy
http://shawnakarrasch.com/blog/2010/06/04/reward-reinforcement/ (horses and reinforcement discussing food)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ndTiVOCNY4M (an aamazing example of timing – and one way to teach “drop”)